Murthy Law Firm Attorneys Speak at AILA Bangkok Meeting12 Mar 2014
Murthy Law Firm attorneys are in demand as guest speakers at professional conferences and continuing-education seminars. Why? Because they have achieved a high level of legal scholarship and technical know-how in the course of their law practice. A recent case in point: two of the firm’s attorneys – Aron Finkelstein, and Brian Green – were among an elite group of immigration practitioners who served as panelists at a Bangkok District Chapter meeting of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). The two-day conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand at the end of February, and featured briefings at the U.S. Embassy and talks with top U.S. consular staff from key posts in South Asia -including Hyderabad and Chennai, India – and several U.S. missions in Southeast Asia.
It was an excellent opportunity for the lawyers from our firm to engage directly with their counterparts at the State Department – consular officials whose offices process a staggering percentage of the nonimmigrants visas submitted each year. For example: in India alone, more than 93,000 H1B applications were submitted last year, and U.S. Consulates in Chennai, Mumbai, and Hyderabad received more than 50 percent of all H1B applications, worldwide. As one consular officer remarked: “India is the world now for H1Bs!”
Finkelstein and Green discussed the latest developments related to nonimmigrant visas – like H1Bs and L-1s – and special factors to consider in cases involving the employer-vendor-client business model, now common in IT consulting. They also talked about the complexities of inadmissibility waivers for nonimmigrant visa applicants, and presented some possible approaches to help young graduate students show sufficient “home ties” to qualify for their F-1 student visas.
Finkelstein and Green also discussed an emerging issue in L-1 cases: the shifting nature of what counts as “specialized knowledge” – a key requirement for L-1 applicants. They noted that with the level of technology advancing rapidly, especially in the IT industry, specialized knowledge may have a relatively short shelf life; what’s highly specialized today may be common knowledge within a year. This makes it all the more essential to have experienced immigration counsel involved – and the earlier, the better.
For their part, consular officials discussed anti-fraud measures that have been implemented to protect the integrity of the visa application process. Two key areas of concern: the use of forged documents, and false statements to consular officials during visa interviews. Mr. Green noted that U.S. consulates in India are sophisticated, and pay special attention to nonimmigrant visas. He emphasized that applicants must be truthful in their statements to consular officials, whether they are submitting documents or in a personal interview.
The meeting was just one more example of the Murthy Law Firm’s leadership in law. It also illustrates the importance we place on giving back to the community, in our own back yard and around the world.
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